Skip to main content

Limes in the Keys

If a Keys gardener refers to a lime tree, it may be  Key lime, a wild lime, or perhaps even a Spanish lime.  All unrelated!

Key Lime IFAS Key limes, Citrus aurantifolia Swingle . Those wonderful round yellow fruits, were once grown commercially in the Keys and are now common backyard trees.  Like all citrus, it originated in Southeast Asia.  It was brought to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 1500s.In the Keys today two common diseases, citrus canker and citrus greening, infect limes and other citrus.  Trees are small, bushy and thorny with small pale green leaves. Small fragrant flowers bloom primarily in the spring, followed by summer fruit.

Wild limes are small native trees that are in some ways similar to cultivated limes.

Spanish limes are large trees that produce soft round fruits that are more like large grapes.